Yacht Registration Under The Malta Flag
Malta is fast becoming one of the top yacht destinations in the World. As the southernmost country in the EU, Malta's safe and stable environment, excellent facilities, and strategic position in the heart of the Mediterranean are only a few of the many reasons why more and more pleasure yachts and super yachts are owned under the Maltese flag. Anyone in the World can register a yacht in Malta even if they are not a European resident or citizen. Unlike most EU jurisdictions that only allow local residents to hold a pleasure craft in the country, Malta makes it extremely easy for non-EU citizens to register a yacht under their flag.
Advantages Under Maltese Flag
Outstanding Global Status - built on centuries-old British maritime tradition and enhanced by Malta's membership in the European Union, the Malta flag boasts a prestigious reputation within the international yachting community.
Easy Local Ownership - registering a yacht in the country through a special legal entity known as a Malta Shipping Company is fast and inexpensive. Following company formation, the necessary purchase occurs and the company is now the direct owner of the yacht. This setup results in a flexible legal entity sanctioned to carry out a variety of shipping activities including chartering of the vessel.
Foreign Ownership Allowed - foreign corporations (including offshore companies) are permitted to register a yacht under the Maltese flag provided they have a resident agent in the country.
Anonymous Ownership - it is possible to achieve confidentiality on the ownership of the boat by appointing a fiduciary.
Low Yacht Registration Costs - Malta has extremely low yacht registration and annual renewal costs.
No Sale or Mortgage Restrictions - Malta has no restrictions on the sale or transfer of shares of yacht owning companies. The country also has no restrictions on the mortgaging of local ships.
No Restrictions on Yacht Crew - Malta does not place any restrictions on the nationality of crew members serving on locally registered yachts. This allows you to employ any ideal candidate as captain, officer, chef, deckhand, or other crew member position regardless of where he or she is from.
No Age Limits - Malta does not have an age restriction on pleasure yachts, but ships between 15 and 20 years old must pass an inspection before or within a month of being provisionally registered, ships 20 to 25 years old must pass an inspection prior to provisional registration, and any vessel more than 25 years old will require express permission by authorities in order to register on the island.
Peace of Mind - with fantastic year-round weather, one of the most sheltered natural harbors in the World, and several large marinas with exceptional facilities including top notch security, Malta provides international yacht owners with a sense of safety and stability regarding their prized possession.
Preferential Treatment - Ships sailing under a Maltese flag may benefit from advantageous treatment in certain ports.
Reputable Government Authority - Transport Malta, the Government authority responsible for the administration of yachts registered under the country's flag, is remarkably well run and provides a solid legal framework for yacht owners that is both fair and effective.
VAT Savings - a yacht can become "EU VAT paid" granting unrestricted access to EU waters for as little as 30% of the normal VAT rate (5.4%) via a Malta yacht VAT leasing scheme.
Low Maintenance Costs - yacht berthing and maintenance costs in Malta are amongst the lowest in the EU.
Top Marinas in Malta
Camper & Nicholson's Grand Harbour Marina (Birgu) - a world-class luxury marina with a magnificent backdrop located next to a UNESCO World Heritage site. Operated by one of the oldest names in the yachting business, the Grand Harbour Marina offers berths for yachts up to 135m in length and has been graced by the presence of some of the nicest super yachts in the World.
Ta' Xbiex Marina and Msida Marina - operated by Creek Developments Plc, this well sheltered marina has 720 berths and can handle pleasure boats up to 22m long.
Portomaso Marina (St. Julians) - In operation since 1999 and located North of the Grand Harbour entrance, this picturesque marina prides itself as a place to "unwind and enjoy life".
Kalkara Marina - Located in the country's Grand Harbour in beautiful Kalkara Creek, this marina offers the highest level of hospitality and professional service possible, and is extremely secure with onsite security, 24/7 CCTV surveillance, and even a central fire water pump.
Royal Malta Yacht Club Marina (RMYC Marina) - located at Ta' Xbiex and home to the club's many racing and social events, the marina can accommodate up to 65 ships from 6m to 20m in length.
Gozo Marina - Also called the Mgarr Marina, the marina is focused on exceeding the expectations of their guests.
Manoel Island Marina - Centrally located in Gzira, the marina has a large number of great amenities within a short walk.
Sandy Marina - Located in Ta' Xbiex creek within the very sheltered Marsamxetto harbor, you can walk to the fancy Sliema shopping area from here.
Provisional Registration Requirements
The Merchant Shipping Act permits a pleasure yacht to be provisionally registered in Malta for six months (and extended for a further 6 months) before all the documentation is required to complete the permanent registration process.
The following is required as part of the provisional Malta yacht registration application:
- Builder's certificate (if boat is brand new)
- Bill of sale
- Certificate of existing registration (if ship is currently in service)
- Copy of International Tonnage Certificate & Load Line Certificate (ships >24m only)
- Proof of ownership qualifications (notarized and apostilled declaration of resident agent / power of attorney, certified copy of Maltese incorporation, etc.)
The following is then required as part of the permanent Malta yacht registration application:
- A certificate of survey
- Proof of cancellation of previous registration certificate (if ship was previously registered in a different jurisdiction)
Please note: registering a boat that is currently under construction can require additional documentation.
Yacht Registration in Malta
Malta has established itself as a flag of choice within the pleasure yacht sector, and consequently the country has the largest shipping registry in Europe. Brokers help international clients register yachts in Malta and has extensive experience with the intricacies of the process. Brokers can also help minimize the amount of value-added tax you pay on your yacht in order to gain legal access to EU waters by optimizing your VAT finance leasing structure.